Bernie did great today and he did really well in Nevada last time too. I’m not sure if he matched today the numbers he got four years ago. But he was the only one this year who had an organization already in place. I would have been flabbergasted if he hadn’t done this well.
I don’t think you all appreciate just how catastrophically disorganized the Democrats are on the ground this year. Bernie’s ground game, as they call it, is a mess compared to say, Obama’s or even Jimmy Carter’s was 44 years ago. Yet Bernie’s is by far the best there is. There has been a complete breakdown in the way nomination campaigns are run this season. This is completely opposite the way that the Democrats ran their campaigns in 2018. You can’t even believe it’s the same party. I’m not sure what this means for the fall campaign.
This was only round one in Nevada, incidentally. Next round is the county conventions in March. The final round in April at the state convention. That’s when the delegates are chosen. Each round in 2016 was more bitter and angry than the one before. A lot of drinking was involved.
I think because nearly all the press are new on the beat the presidential election beat this year, they report each event as if it were the first time ever. I’ve never seen a campaign with so little sense of the past before. Indeed this might be the only thing you’ll see on the Nevada caucuses today that mentions 2016. It’ll certainly be the only one that mentions that until 1980 Nevada had a very competitive and very simple primary without any of this ridiculous caucus crap. I remember Jerry Brown won it in the wild 1976 campaign. But none of that ever happened apparently. Welcome to the Digital Age.
On now to South Carolina where Tom Steyer is likely to get the third most delegates. Like I said, welcome to the Digital Age.
Been checking in sporadically on the Nevada caucus predictions, and it was neck and neck a few days ago and now Hillary is edging out Bernie again, but who knows, it’s a caucus. It’s really impossible to tell who will show up to a caucus and where and with both sides as fired up as they are and the Culinary Union sitting this one out (membership being so split) it’s all quite up in the air. I know that for the Democratic Party in Nevada (looking at the Nevada’s Secretary of States voter data here) you have the initial caucuses which selects about ten thousand delegates (out of about 600,000 Democrats in the state, though how many are expected to attend the caucuses on Saturday I have no idea), then over the next three months those delegates meet at their respective county Democratic conventions (there are 17 counties in Nevada) and are whittled down to maybe three or four thousand delegates who go on to state Democratic Party convention in May which manages to pick the 24 delegates who will go on to the Democratic national convention. And kind of like how the electoral college is weighted in favor of small states and against big states (so that a Californian’s presidential vote is worth about one-third of what a North Dakotan’s vote is worth*) residents of rural counties (a couple of which have in Nevada are disproportionately represented in the state convention. Thus a candidate can do really well in the biggest county–Clark (450K Democrats)–and win the popular vote count yet lose in the delegate count by not having enough delegates Washoe (95K Democrats) and in the small counties (none of which come close to 10K registered Democrats and six of which have less than a thousand, Esmeralda County has 120 registered Democrats, Eureka County has 112). This is what happened in 2008 (using date from here) when Hillary won over 50% in the caucuses but wound up losing the final delegate vote at the state convention because the Obama campaign had worked the small counties and thus had more delegates on hand because Hillary had majorities in less counties. The initial vote in the Caucuses of 50% Hillary to 45% Obama (due to Hillary’s high turn out in Clark County) in January became 55% Obama to 45% Hillary at the convention in May, because Obama had managed to get more caucus goers to attend the precinct caucuses in Washoe County (Reno) and the small counties back in January than had Hillary (who won in hugely populated Clark County), even though Hillary had more total caucus goers state wide. Basically it’s not so much how many supporters you have, but where you have those supporters. Obama had more in the right places, even though he had less overall, and wound up with fourteen delegates to the national convention to Hillary’s eleven. If California selected its delegates in the same manner, a candidate could win most of the big counties in the Bay Area and Southern California yet still lose the delegate total because the other candidate won all the small rural counties, and there are many more small rural counties in California than big urban ones. Same goes for Nevada. It’s not whether you win or lose in the Nevada caucuses, so much, but how you play the game. Obama’s team in Nevada outplayed Hillary’s in 2008. It was not that far different from how the more popular Al Gore was defeated by George W Bush in 2000. Gore got a half million more votes, but Bush got his smaller number of votes in the right places. Of course, the results of the Nevada caucuses, skewed as they were, did not affect the outcome of the nomination race at all. Indeed, they had little significance in the overall picture. It’s just that the Nevada Caucuses were the fourth contest that year (preceded by Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan) and as such get a lot of media attention. Which, at the time, gave Hillary a “win”, since the actual delegates weren’t to be selected for months, long after Obama has already racked up the delegates he needed. Continue reading